Strangely enough, awareness of bodily location improves during any motion – whereas stillness is propreceptively self-deceptive.
You can experiment to see this in action right now, (as long as you’re not driving a vehicle!)
You’re going to touch the middle of your finger to the exact middle of your nose – with your eyes closed and your head still. (Of course, your arm has to move…)
Then, while slowly moving your head from side to side while your eyes are still closed, repeat. Do your second attempt to touch the middle of the same finger to the middle of your nose…
How did the two attempts compare? Most people find the second attempt more successful, with the exact center of their finger being closer to the exact center of the end of their own nose. Did you? (You can redo the first attempt again also, to correct for practice being a factor.)
Generally, people’s capacity to judge bodily orientation and relative effort is tied to being in motion. Proof of this would having it be trickier to do the same experiment with your head still – than when your head was slowly moving. But – most people assume this experiment would be more difficult while moving.
The way you can use this in your daily life is whenever you want to compare the relative success of one example to another – probably during the practice or learning of a particular skill. Perhaps this tip would also be useful when you want to figure out if your chair is “comfortable” in a variety of possibilities?
The tip is to always do your “after” comparison sample AFTER you’ve been in motion. If you do a “before” sample, you’ll perceive your habits. Comparing when you’re not moving won’t work as well. Your sensory abilities won’t be receiving clear information from your capacity to judge relative effort and absolutely factual location of your body and limbs. Habits “hide” sensory capacity so effectively that sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing what we’re doing!
Many randomly painful things happen to our bodies when we try to use them as “holders” while we do something else – especially if that “something else” requires control, muscular force or repetitive, precise actions.
It’s seductive to set yourself up for this pitfall, the effects of which you’ll only notice later.
It always pays off to pay attention how you set yourself up when you do work or other things that demands you “hold.” Pay attention if the action requires that you hold some part of your body a certain way, or if you’re holding something while you do something else. Take a moment to think about how you can orient yourself to take advantage of “mechanical advantage” before you’re focused on the job at hand. If you’re going to get underneath the sink or the car, there might be a way to do so that will make the job easier. Take a bit of time to consider what this “easier way” might be on the front end.
But sometimes the “holding” action seems so simple that considering how to do it is redundant – you assume you already know how to hold it. For instance, just holding up a tiny cup of paint that hardly weighs anything in one hand – it seems so obvious to just hold it and not consider how. But while you’re painting, the way you choose to continue to hold it can have painful effects over hours of work.
Musical instruments often don’t weigh much. You learned to hold it eons ago as a kid when you first started playing it. But with the wrong sort of practice and by not revising how you hold it now that you’ve grown into being an adult can become a big factor. For instance, it’s not just being a violin player that will affect the entire shape of their face, hands and nature of vision – it’s how you hold the instrument that will determine what happens to you over time as you continue to work at it.
One of the secrets to avoiding training a random, longer term effect can be solved by intermittently inserting a moment of freedom into the action while you’re doing the “holding.” Put a tiny break of the routine into the process of doing the work or activity. Create a moment when you “let up” on the part of yourself that you’re demanding needs to be held. Do what you think you need to do in order to gain your objectives – and then stop for a moment before you resume.
You can even do that right now!